Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Former CBC Radio manager on L’Affaire Budd

Jeffrey Dvorkin, a one-time managing editor and chief journalist of CBC Radio, offers his thoughts on the Corpse’s big strategic idea to replace announcers with journalists.

From his Now The Details blog: (seen first on Twitter)

The ostensible reason for Barbara’s dismissal is because the CBC says it wants to replace announcers with journalists. But good announcers and good journalists are not mutually exclusive. They may have been at one time, but not of late. …

After seventeen years on the job, Barbara is a journalist, as far as I am concerned. Her co-host on the show is Carol Off has burnished her reputation as a fine journalist and foreign correspondent.  But Barbara’s past seems to have finally caught up with her and she couldn’t shake her non-journalistic rep – at least not enough to satisfy CBC management.

It’s easy enough to second guess management (it was done to me enough times) so here’s my working theory on what management is thinking:

“Barbara has been around a while (aka, she’s older) and more expensive. Radio is a good place to road test some of the younger, up and coming television people. Once they prove themselves, we’ll move them back into television news where they can also claim the mantle of radio-ness, thus proving how well “bi-medialism” works.”

Two problems with that: 1) It undervalues the willingness and ability of CBC employees to gain new skills and re-invent themselves and indeed, it just reinforces the outdated management view that older employees can’t change. 2) It feeds into the notion, already rampant, that CBC Television staff are fungible and that CBC Radio staff are expendable – aka, the junior service, only there to be a training ground to sustain the failing TV side.

Which television “personality” will replace Barbara Budd? Watch this space …

I have no idea if this is about intra-CBC rivalries, which should be ebbing in an era of integration.

Theoretically, having a journalist who can present would be more of an asset than an announcer who can only present but not do journalism.

Practically, if the journo is not so good at the presentation part, the show will suffer.

In any event, if the strategic thinkers at CBC Radio really believe Budd can be easily replaced at AIH, they’re either very smart or very out of touch with their audience.

But, let’s see what they do. If I like the post-Budd incarnation of the show, I’ll retract the snark.

Thu, April 1 2010 » Main Page, Media